Thursday, November 25, 2010

"The Storm of the Decade"

Hello buenos padres y amados hermanos mios,

I haven't sent the pictures yet, so sorry, I don't mean to complain, but p-day is kind of stressful here and I've fallen behind on letter writing and picture sending and similar endeavors.  Today isn't even p-day, we just get to email today -  they changed this week to be p-day also so that we could participate in turkey bowls if we have the opportunity and too much proselyting time wouldn't be lost.  We might not have a whole lot of time to do P-day things because, as I mentioned, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  I'll do my best to write a few letters though.  Weather Report:  today:  continuation of "the storm of the decade" (I think they just say that so people will watch the news), snow, a high of 17 and a low of 3.  Public advisory is to stay indoors so that when the missionaries come, you're guaranteed to be there.  If you speak spanish, you're more than likely to let them in.  My clothes are keeping me warm, with the occasional exception of the featherweight suit pants.  I have a scarf now too, which is quite helpful.  We can't exactly be on bikes in this weather, but we'll continue working even if it does mean we have to walk.  Our message is that important.  Oh, yes I got the birthday card from Grandma W. and a letter from dad.  Thanks very much!  Grandma is always so punctual with birthday cards.  I still don't have any information on my visa.  As soon as I get it, I will have an interview at the consulate and leave within seven days.  I will not leave the country without first telling you, so don't worry.  I did hear that a visa waiter in another zone left already, so there is some progress.  I think there are almost 20 missionaries in this mission waiting for their visas.  I'm glad to hear that the youth is focusing on gaining a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  That is the root concern of any problem that anyone has with the church.  If the Book of Mormon is true, then, as the introduction says, Christ is the Savior, Joseph Smith is his prophet, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God.  So many people want to argue about whether or not Lamoni really had horses.  I don't care, I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and because I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, I know that Lamoni had horses.  I also know that Lamoni's horses aren't going to save me in the kingdom of heaven, so I don't worry about it.  Anyway, the church is true.  Well, I'ma try to get some work done.  I love you all.  Have a wonderful day!

Con Carino,

Elder Fine

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Giving Thanks

The weather has been a little warmer this week, but it's supposed to snow soon I think.  I'll be fine though.  I've been through fall and winter in Utah before.  Not that it was a super pleasant experience the first time, but I'll know what to expect ;) I'm enjoying riding a bike, even though it's sometimes frustrating when we ride all the way across town to have an appointment fall through.  I heard about the leadership meeting as well.  Apparently there's going to be a lot more focus on what President Monson describes as "the rescue" aka ward missionary work.  I don't know if you've seen the process that was designed by Elder Perry, but it's going to change the way Ward Councils are done.  Speaking of Elder Perry, I saw him again today, he just walked into the temple, there was nobody with him this time.  Luckily, he didn't come over and talk to the missionaries because he would have chastised us.  He always asks the missionaries how many lessons they taught last week and if it's less than 20 they're in trouble.  Don't worry about thanksgiving.  We've got more options than we can handle.  The young men's president Hno. Campbell (he's a white guy) offered to feed us since he's probably the only one in the ward that has the knowledge and ability to make an American thanksgiving meal.  Not that I'm opposed to having mexican thanksgiving, but it's nice.  We'll also be having Laotian thanksgiving because there's a sister in our apartment complex who "I LIKE MAKE FOOD AND BRING DOWNSTAIR FOR YOU OPEN DOOR AND I BRING FOOD OKAY?" so that's fun.  Regarding Ethnic food, this week Venezuela soared into first place with steak, potatoes, salad, fried bananas, arroz con leche, and fresh cheese.  I printed pictures today at Wal-Mart.  You should be receiving several in the mail this week.   I'm amazed at how quickly my time here has gone.  It felt like I was in the MTC for at least half an eternity, but here in Zion it feels like nothing.  Last week I kind of lost my animo because a lot of stuff was going wrong and we weren't teaching as much as we wanted to, and the people we were teaching weren't progressing. But this week so far has gone so much better.  Last night I went out with Jesus and taught 3 lessons and all of them were miraculous.  In the first one, we taught lesson 4, the commandments, and by the end of it Julio Cesar was so excited about observing the sabbath day because god wanted him to go to church, and living the word of wisdom because God wanted him to be healthy, and here's the best part:  When he found out he was living in adultery, he turned to his girlfriend Karen and said "Quieres casarme?" which is being interpreted "Want to marry me?" and she said "Si."  Right there in the lesson.  I'm so excited.  And I also got ahold of Rosbin, he's from Guatemala and we thought he had disappeared off the face of the earth because we haven't been able to find him for weeks, but guess what?  He went to church last week and he's still reading half an hour in the Book of Mormon every day.  That's how you know someone is elect, if they lose contact with the missionaries and keep progressing by themselves.  Wow.  Okay, so now I'm just kind of rambling on about how great my area is and of course you don't know who any of these people are.  Do you think I should divide my letters in paragraphs or have any form of reason or organization to them?  Nah, waste of time.  Well, in case you were wondering, the Book of Mormon is true. But as Geordi LaForge would say, you don't have to take my word for it.

Much love,

Elder Fine

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Burned Out? Hardly.

Hi Mom!

Let's start with the bad news.  3:00 AM on the morning of Saturday, October 30, a fire was intentionally started in the chapel of the LDS meetinghouse where the Miller and Granite Spanish Wards meet.  The building was extensively damaged and will be unusable for many months.  Another building on Main St was also burned, but caught sooner.  Luckily, there are many meetinghouses here in Salt Lake, and other stakes kindly took us in, but it is further away, and many of our members walked to church before it was burned.  South Salt Lake Police have arrested the person responsible.

But that didn't stop our ward from having 3 baptisms that same morning, or having the primary program the next day.  Our Stake had a pretty cool Halloween carnival.  The missionaries had a booth where we would ask questions to the kids and give them prizes when they answered them.  Who baptized Jesus?  What did the Lord command Nephi to go and build?  Questions like that.  We spent Saturday Evening at a Member's house with the whole zone because we had to stay in and, well, might as well have a zone activity.  Details se encuentran en Lauren's email.  We had to wear proselyting clothes, so my halloween costume was a black suit, black tie, black sunglasses, and a black raincoat (which I have).  Transfers were today.  Elder Seivert and I are staying in our area, but Elder Chavez is leaving and we have a new companion, Elder Guillen, from Paraguay.  Native Companion!!!!! Yessss!  Elder Chavez was technically a native speaker but not really because he grew up in California and spoke English more.  We also are moving apartments and no longer have a car.  Hopefully Obispo Melquisedec Matute will let us use his truck to move some stuff (like my mattress because we have 3 misioneros and the new apartment only has 2 camas).  Anyway, gotta get back to baptizing nations ;)

The church is true!

Elder Fine

Monday, November 1, 2010

Patience is a Christlike Virtue

Hey Mom!  I'm still here in Salt Lake and haven't heard anything about visas.  One thing:  it snowed this week and it is possible that I could be here for another transfer or longer.  With this in mind, I would like to request, if possible, gloves and a black beanie.  I think I'll be ok without a winter coat, unless Adam wants to take a date to temple square and drop it off at the mission office (the address that I sent) on his way.  If not, and I still need one, there's a DI pretty close.  I don't think I'll need it though.  After all, we have a car.  Sorry the pictures didn't work!  I'll try again next week.  The reason that P-day is on Thursday today instead of Wednesday is because Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy was speaking to us yesterday.  That's the third time he's spoken to a group that I've been in within the last two months.  Once at the MTC, once at the regional conference last Sunday (along with President Uchtdorf and Elder Nelson, did you know they and the other apostles go skiing together?), and then yesterday at the mission tour.  It was pretty amazing.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to immediately apply the great things we learned because Elder Seivert was sick.  So we had to stay in and were able to review our notes and clean and I got a haircut.  P-day next week will also be thursday, I think, because transfers are on wednesday, I'll probably stay here in the Granite Park Stake though, they like missionaries to get to know areas, and members in the area to know the missionaries, and since I'm a visa waiter, there's almost no chance of me getting transferred.  I hope you all have a fun Halloween.  We're staying in Saturday night.  Not really sure how Sunday is going to work, but we'll be doing missionary work that night.  Baptisms the next two weeks! :)  Brenda Martinez on the 30th and Jasmin (step-daughter of Ernesto) on the 6th.  To Sister Knight:  No problem!  I made it a goal at the beginning of my mission that I would reply to every letter that I received, which, I admittedly haven't been perfect at (Sorry Diane and Sister Beecher, I owe you letters, and everyone who wrote me last week, I haven't had any time today to write letters so you'll have to wait, but patience is a Christlike attribute, so you'll be blessed).  Well, I guess that's it for this week.  I love you all. Eat lots of candy!

The church is true,

Elder Brandon Kevin Fine